Drinking societies have long been the marmite of the Cambridge masses. As always the Daily Mail took great delight this summer in chastising our fancy dress and our use of sun-cream, while the opinion of our professors was made clear in last year’s Law exam. In fact, pretty much everyone loves to demonise our poor, vodka-poisoned souls. But do we deserve this bad rep? Or beneath the bravado, are we just stressed-out students seeking solace in our Sunday night korma?
With only a small percentage of students able to drag themselves away from the library, the endangered species of party-goers are left lost and lonely, wandering aimlessly around Market Square by night. Drinking societies provide them with a poor excuse for a curry and a tepid bottle of Sainsbury’s Basics Rosé, and a guaranteed night out with at least twenty other like-minded binge-drinkers. We even sit boy-girl-boy-girl to give the socially inept former public-schoolers a chance at inter-gender interaction. In their natural habitat, the overpriced oriental restaurant, the atmosphere is not one of aggression or misogyny but of hilarity and good-natured fun. Drinking soc members can even be ‘Good Guys’; one Downing Patrician took upon himself to organise a drinking society naked calendar to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
There you have it: a group of friends not taking themselves too seriously, apparently even supporting charity, whilst getting to know other colleges and years. Only a tiny minority have a proclivity for debauchery and criminal damage, and they’d do the same whether they were Caesarians or not.
So next time a swap descends into the street from Curry King, don’t judge a drunkard by his tie, or at the very least take pity that he’s just spent £20 on a £6 madras.